Helping Your Child Develop a Love for Reading
Today’s children grow up immersed in technology and as a result are not being read to by their parents as often. According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), one third of parents say their child does not spend enough time being read aloud to. At the same time, one third say their child spends too much time watching TV and using tablets, smartphones and other handheld devices.
There are many ways that you can motivate your child to read. Here are some suggestions.
Tips for Parents
You should begin reading to your child as a part of your daily routine in infancy. Right from the beginning, an infant can benefit from looking at pictures and hearing the rhythm and intonation of your voice. In fact, the single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school (National Commission on Reading, 1985).
Once your child is old enough, you can take them to a local library to obtain their own library card. Let them choose their own book with your guidance in terms of reading level and age-appropriateness. Allowing them to do this will leave them feeling empowered since they get to be the decision maker and responsible for the checked-out library book.
Show your child that you like to read. Check out a library book for yourself and spend a few minutes during the day reading a magazine, newspaper article or favorite book in front of your child.
If your child is three to six years old and you want to give their early literacy skills an extra boost, check out KickStart Reading. They offer 2-minute engaging reading videos which utilize a fun teaching philosophy that comes from Lauren Goldblatt, an elementary and special education teacher.
Take time out of your day and read to your child. This should be a priority. Reading aloud builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent, expressive reading, and helps children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about.
Research that has been done on literacy shows that even children who can read independently can benefit from being read to (Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report, 5th Edition). Scholastic Kids reported that 40% of children aged 6 to 11 whose parents have stopped reading aloud to them say they “wish their parents had continued”.
If your child doesn’t seem interested in having you read to them, try reading to them during the day when they are more alert and read slowly, pointing to the words as you go along to ensure that your child can keep up with the story line. Don’t stipulate how long the reading should go for. Your child should be inspired by your reading.
One final suggestion that I have to foster a love for reading, is to start a book club for your school-age child. Starting a book club is easy to do. Follow these steps to ensure success of your book club.
Starting a Book Club
1. Decide who will participate and where it will be held. You would want all of the children involved to be at a similar reading level. I suggest 4-6 children per group. Your book club could take place in the participant’s home, at a park, a book store, or your local community center. Select a location where the children can enjoy spending time together after the book discussion.
2. If the children are young and reading a picture book, have them read one book per week. If they are older and reading a chapter book, meet bi-monthly. Allow each participant to select the book that will be read for the following week. You want to encourage books that have wide appeal, literary value, varied genres, curriculum connections, and/or multicultural representation.
3. At the meeting, start off with a welcoming activity. Participants may share something interesting that they learned from the book, share a short entry from their reading journal, or name their favorite character from the book. You can also allow participants to rate the book.
4. Discuss the book for about 10 minutes. Adjust according to age and attention span. The discussion can be led by parents, children or both. I suggest having questions prepared ahead of time.
5. Consider including a craft or other extension activity related to the book.
6. You can have the children write a few short sentences about the story. Leave this open for the child to foster creativity.
7. Finally, allow the children to have some time for free play (swimming, playing on a playground, etc). This is how you will keep them coming back for more and motivate them to read the book for the meeting.